Even if you are a skinny guy (or a girl), you need to think about your body fat. There are two types of fat your body carries: visceral and subcutaneous. The first type is the one that wraps around your internal organs. The second type is the fat layer beneath your skin. This is the fat we all notice and worry about. Here are a few basics on how to lower your body fat.
Regardless of which type, too much body fat is not a good news for your appearance and your health. It can add unnecessary strain on your joints and affect your mobility but it can also increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.
Lowering your body fat comes down to (surprise, surprise) diet and exercise.
You need to achieve that balance between the two in order to keep your body fat in the green zone. Here are a few things you need to bear in mind if you are on a mission to lower your body fat:
LOWER YOUR BODY FAT THROUGH YOUR DIET
EAT SIX SMALL MEALS PER DAY
You see me telling you about this in almost every other article I write. Just in case you haven’t read anywhere else, I’ll tell you again. The reason why you need to eat six small per day instead of three feasts is quite simple; it’s to do with how your body functions.
Eating small meals, spread equally throughout the day, provides your body with enough nutrients and energy it needs to function as it goes. The small meals make it harder for your body to store fat because there won’t be enough calories left for it to store.
Think of it as your mobile phone bill: if you are on pay-as-you-go SIM card, you need to top it up every time you run out of minutes/text and/or data. If you were on a monthly contract, you will carry your unused allowances into the next month. Your body is the same: it will store any unused calories as fat.
INCREASE YOUR PROTEIN INTAKE
You know full well that protein is the building block of life. You need the protein to grow your muscles but it’s also a source of energy your body needs. Increasing your protein intake not only helps you build muscles but it increases your metabolism as well. High metabolism is good news if you are on a mission to lower your body fat because it helps the fat burning process.
DECREASE YOUR CARBS INTAKE
Even though it causes a bit of controversy, a low carb diet is much more fat-burning friendly than a diet high in carbs. When choosing the carbs for your diet, you should stay away from bad carbs. Forget about any refined sugars (chocolate, sugary drinks etc.). Get your carbs from whole-grains (brown rice, brown pasta, wholemeal bread etc.), vegetables (broccoli, asparagus, sweet potato etc.) and fruit (bananas, berries etc.).
LOWER YOUR BODY FAT THROUGH EXERCISE
CARDIO AND HIGH-INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING (HIIT)
Again, this is another no-brainer. Cardio and low body fat go hand in hand. Why? Well because when you do a cardio exercise, you raise your heart rate and you increase your metabolism which helps burn fat.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is the answer to your body fat lowering attempts if you are pressed for time or don’t want to spend hours on a treadmill (or running in the park). HIIT is when you alternate between bouts of very intense exercise and low intense exercise.
Get a skipping rope (or a jump rope if you are in the USA) and skip/jump really fast for 10-20 secs followed by 30 secs of normal rope skipping/jumping. If you are outdoors, you can sprint for 30 secs then walk for 60secs.
Many fitness experts and personal trainers recommend HIIT for its long-term effects. An HIIT session can increase your metabolism and fat burning for up to 24 hours after the interval training.
Even though weight training is predominately associated with muscle building, it is also good for fat burning. Lifting weights encourages your body to burn calories. It promotes muscle growth and therefore preventing any of that weight loss being muscle loss.
Similar to HIIT, weight training can help your body burn calories for up to 36 hours after your workout.
It is important to note that your body needs some fat in order to function properly. However, be aware of your body fat percentage and keep it within the healthy levels.
Unless you are an athlete and know what you are doing, you shouldn’t try to lower your body fat below the 8-10% mark.